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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:07 pm 
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It has been a great tradition at Shottery for the Year 13s to hold a Leavers Assembly every year. Unfortunately, yet another tradition has now been destroyed under the new regime. One of the current Year 13s has written about her feelings on the matter and I feel that this accurately reflects both the current Year 13's and my attitudes to the school. It would be interesting to hear what other people think about this:

'We found out today that we are not able to participate in an assembly to mark our time at Shottery on Thursday. Although I appreciate that this decision has been made and is unlikely to be changed now, I feel that our feelings and efforts haven’t fully been taken into account however much you feel that you have considered them. As a result of this I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you exactly why this has upset us and how much we feel this has impacted our time leaving Shottery.

In order to do this appropriately, I want to share with you some of the reasons behind choosing coming to Shottery. As a year six student from a town comprehensive primary, I remember seeing Shottery as a unique, passionate and happy place, unlike other schools I had visited in the area. What made Shottery different to anywhere else was the balance between great teaching, fantastic results and fun, distinctive traditions. Throughout my time here, events suchas classroom decorating, world book day and muck up day have been enjoyed and respected by all years, and the leavers assembly was a large part of this. As a student in the lower school, leavers assembly used to be something I looked forward to, not as a time of ridicule, but an opportunity to see the strengths of the relationships between the students and teachers allowing for such funny yet ultimately affectionate sketches to take place. I have watched six leavers assemblies and it is simply not true that they have become more offensive overthis time. A large part of the charm of these assemblies is that the same jokes and sketches are repeated, about particular teachers, KES boys, and the canteen staff. We, like other years before us have repeated these jokes, in good humourand with affection for the subjects of our sketches. As you have not read our scripts for many of these scenes, you do not know this, and instead have chosen to judge the assembly as a whole without having all the information necessaryto make a fair judgement.

As far as I am concerned the end of the leavers assembly is a continuation of the gradual loss of Shottery. The relaxed atmosphere of the school alive at the start of my time here combined excellent results and good work ethic with unique traditions and enjoyable events throughout the year, all whilst sharing positive relationships with teachers that we respect. Although you may deem this irrelevant,the introduction of vertical tutoring and the strict implementation of compulsory suits was not in keeping with the fun and relaxed spirit which made Shottery so special, and stopping this assembly is merely an extension of this. Shottery is not a structured private school, it is not a large comprehensive with the need for strict punishment, nor are we like any other grammar schoolsolely focused on exams. Shottery was a positive, enthusiastic place that trusted the students to work hard and awarded them with unique events and traditions. This has now gone, teachers that have arrived at the school in the last few years have attempted to change and structure Shottery. I admit changes which have been beneficial in some aspects, however in doing this the true spirit of Shottery has been lost, this has become evident to us today, with the end of the assembly.

Although the senior staff have stressed the fact that they have taken into account the efforts that have been put into this assembly, but that it is simply not true. Lydia has put in over two months of work at a critical time for her revision, speaking with teachers and trying her best to compromise between the happiness of both students and teachers. Sarah has put in equal amounts of hard work, helping us to write scripts and attending meetings across the recent weeks. Ontop of these two girls incredible hard work, the year as a whole has taken hours out of their time to rehearse, write and plan the assembly, time that is crucial at this revision point. To ban the assembly and make this hard work useless is cruel and extremely counter-productive in terms of time we could have given to revision instead.

Banning the assembly this close to the day is even more hurtful and we feel, completely unfounded compared to the effort put in to make this assembly appropriate and enjoyable for students and teachers alike. It’s a shame you feel unable to trust us, both as adults and students that like and respect our teachers, to leave the school in the way we anticipated and had prepared so much for. Unfortunately this has totally clouded our time leaving Shottery, which is unfair considering how hard we have worked across the years here, and how much we would have demonstrated our appreciation if given a fair chance.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, we just wanted as a year to express how upset we truly are at this situation, and how much of a shame it is that we’re leaving on unfortunately bad terms.'


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:32 pm 
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As somebody who enjoyed much of KS3 at Shottery, I have to say that I strongly agree with all the issues in this letter.
I have recently left to do GCSEs at another school nearby, and in addition to some other issues, the gradual destruction of Shottery's community through vertical tutoring and very harsh control of freedom of expression was the cause of my leaving.
I too enjoyed the leavers' assemblies and am greatly saddened to see that this too has now been abolished.
In conclusion, I believe that the school as a whole is generally going downhill as the community is destroyed, not only diminishing the happiness of the students but also creating more conflict between staff and pupils and damaging Shottery's reputation as a happy, cohesive community. Leavers' assemblies are, as the letter says, a show of the affection in the relationships between pupils and teachers; they are not in any way intended to be insulting or hurtful. When I left Shottery, the main thing that I was going to miss was the annual leavers' assembly, and now I find it is yet another victim of the new regime.

p.s. My sister was involved in the previous leavers' assembly and as such I really appreciate the amount of work that goes into them, and think that the regime could at least allow the work that has already been done to be shown.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:30 am
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Location: Warwickshire
As a mum of a Year 10 girl at Shottery I'm not in possession of all the facts relating to this cancellation, but I would suggest it's worth finding out much more about why the assembly has been cancelled before jumping to conclusions.

I'd also say perhaps you should speak to other current Shottery girls about vertical tutoring. My understanding is that some Year 13 girls haven't really taken a full part in it. Although vertical tutoring didn't seem popular at the start I think many of them are now very positive about it.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:03 pm 
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I think that in the light of the fact that they censored last years version and dictated cuts before its performance to the school it is rather obvious why they are banning it - an oppressive regime dislikes any challenges or freedom of expression in its population.
I can justify my use of 'oppressive' with my personal knowledge and the fact that at the start of vertical tutoring they attempted to appear democratic, before revealing that actually students had no say in it and the regime will make the decision.
When you say that people are being positive about vertical tutoring - I personally found (during my short experience of it) that people attempted to make the best of what they were enduring - a fatalistic approach very common in those living under totalitarian regimes.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:10 pm 
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Warwks mum; spot on :wink:

One of the greatest ironies of life is that change is always hardest to bear at either end of the age spectrum, when you usually have little to lose but everything to gain. :roll:

Anyhow, whilst I profess to have no inside knowledge of Shottery, I do feel this is perhaps not the best forum for a protest post regarding provision at a local school.

Another point. There will be many, call them the silent majority if you will, who are probably quite happy with the way things are at Shottery. They don't protest or make a fuss, but nor do they send flowers, kind letters and thanks either; more's the pity!

Find me a famous Head, garlanded, honoured and revered by all, who has not implemeted change that many folk found distasteful at the time. Exactly.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:14 pm 
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Location: Warwickshire
Quote:
(during my short experience of it)


Perhaps therein lies my point...

And any decent democracy still needs censorship to protect the rights of all its citizens - not just those with the loudest voice. With rights come responsibilities!

However, as I said before - I can't comment on the leavers' assembly since I don't know the details, I'm afraid.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:26 pm 
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...and during my 7 year long experience of it

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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 5:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:33 pm
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Oh my goodness!! The girls have finally rebelled against "The Barnett Regime"!!
Much satisfaction at Magwich Manor tonight.
Looks like vertical tutoring succeeded beyond Barnet's worst nightmares in "bringing people together"!!!
As a long time trade unionist this is very gratifying!


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